Ex-top CIA-FBI official: Miranda never hurt us
In a little-noticed piece tucked into the back of today’s Washington Post, Philip Mudd, a former top official at the CIA and FBI, says reading terrorist suspects their rights to counsel has never, in his long experience, impeded an investigation.
“I sat at hundreds of briefing tables for nine years after Sept. 11, 2001, and I can't remember a time when Miranda impeded a decision on whether to pursue an intelligence interview,” Mudd wrote in the paper’s Washington Forum page.
Mudd, who served as deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center from 2003 to 2005 and as a senior intelligence adviser to the FBI from 2009 until retiring recently, said reading a suspect his rights can even aid in questioning.
“Miranda can be a tool that aids the acquisition of intelligence,” Mudd wrote.
“Mirandizing a young detainee might prove to nervous parents -- say, from countries with fearsome security services -- that the rule of law applies in the United States and that there is incentive for their child to speak. In cultures with tight family structures, those parents could be the deciding factor in whether a young detainee talks.”
The parents of the alleged Northwest Airlines “underwear bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, reportedly aided in the interrogation of their son.
Mudd, whose nomination to be intelligence chief of the Department of Homeland Security was withdrawn by the White House after accusations swirled that he was too close to Bush administration interrogation practices, deplored the shrill debate over providing terrorist suspects constitutional protections.
“We in Washington are making the Miranda issue a black-and-white decision,” he said.
“Read Miranda to a detainee and you are ‘soft,’ sacrificing intelligence that could save a child for the sake of reminding a detainee of his rights. Collect intelligence without Miranda and you are violating one of the tenets of our democracy, the right of an individual to seek counsel. Why is it that so many in Washington insist on making problems into absolutes, right and wrong -- without stepping back and asking more clearly what we want?”
Mudd said questions about how to treat the suspects “merit debate. But they are not the game-changers that Miranda ostensibly has become.”
Speaking of the rules of interrogation, SpyTalk bets you didn’t know this is “Torture Awareness Month.”
“We’ll be featuring a formerly secret document every week day,” vows ACLU communications strategist Ateqah Khaki.
Speaking of interrogation, a former Air Force interrogator who goes by the name of Matthew Alexander has launched Interrogations Central, which is billed as “an interrogations knowledge bank -- a 'one-stop shop' for interrogators or anyone interested in the art and science of interrogations,” with links to “books, manuals, studies, articles … research and … history.”
All torture, all the time, for those so disposed.
| June 4, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories: Intelligence, Justice/FBI | Tags: Interrogations Central, Matthew Alexander, Philip Mudd, The Torture Report
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